The ESSMA Summit experience as Management Trainee (by Melanie Maroy)

By March 29, 2016

After finishing my Master Applied Economics at the University of Ghent (Belgium), I decided to pursue my passion for sports by following a Postgraduate Sports Management course at the Free University of Brussels. Before starting my career as a sport professional, gaining experience was my biggest priority. That’s why I decided to do some voluntary internships first. Gaining on-field experience in event management and broadening my network in the fast moving stadium industry were the two main reasons why I chose ESSMA. Although the headquarters of ESSMA aren’t located close to my hometown (2h30 by train), the distance didn’t stop me to accept the challenge because I realised what a unique opportunity ESSMA offered me.

My main responsibilities at ESSMA were focused on events: first of all the support of the organisation of the ESSMA Summit, ESSMA’s biggest yearly event that took place in Bilbao on the 19th and 20th of January. Secondly, I also contributed to the preparation of the workshops and stadium tours that will be organised in 2016.

Furthermore I got the opportunity to develop other skills besides event management by contributing to a wide range of activities: on-location interviews, monitoring social media, attending sales meetings, writing articles and designing newsletters. I was also lucky enough to accompany the team abroad for three times: one member visit to the Amsterdam Arena and two times to Bilbao (1 preparation visit and the Summit itself).

After three months of preparation, I felt really excited the day we finally headed for Bilbao with the whole team. We were ready to turn all the efforts into real life action. Although we arrived 4 days before the Summit in Bilbao, it was a busy period since we had to finish the final preparations. During the Summit my main responsibility was the general event overview in cooperation with Director of Operations Jan Stryckers. The two-day event itself was an intense experience. An important lesson I learned is that you are not able to control the flow of the event for 100%, although everything is prepared in detail. At the end of day 2, a feeling of satisfaction came over me. In the end everything went well and I think we can be proud of the result we reached with such a small team.

ESSMA’s ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality became really clear to me at the end of the Summit. After an intense week in Bilbao, we attended the cup game between Athletic Club and FC Barcelona. This was a great closing and reward for all the efforts the team made.

Overall I can look back at four wonderful months at ESSMA. I left my comfort zone on daily basis, presented for the whole ESSMA team, became a problem-solving thinker, got more self-confident and I ended my internship with a bunch of experience.

Now my internship at ESSMA has finished, I developed a more clear view on how I want to continue my career as a sport professional.

Below you can find a small ‘behind-the-scenes’ photo overview of my ESSMA Summit experience in Bilbao. Enjoy!


 If you want to know more about the possibilities as a management trainee at ESSMA, feel free to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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